Women's Rights in 3rd World Counrties

Jennifer and Katie

Women?s Rights in 3rd World Countries

There was a young woman who left her home in Mycrorayan in Kabul, Afghanistan for Peshawar after the January 1994 fighting and told Amnesty International of the following situation. "One day when my father was walking past a building complex he heard screams of women coming from an apartment block which had just been captured by forces of General Dostum. He was told by the people that Dostum's guards had entered the block and were looting the property and raping the women."

The following story comes out of Iran. "On August 10, 1994, in the city of Arak, Iran, a woman was sentenced to death by stoning. According to the ruling of the religious judge, her husband and two children were forced to attend the execution. The woman urged her husband to take the children away, but to no avail. A truck full of stones was brought in to be used during the stoning. In the middle of the stoning, although her eyes had been gouged out, the victim was able to escape from the ditch and started running away, but the regime's guards recaptured her and shot her to death."

From China comes the following observation. "Still in the streets an occasional old crone hobbling around on her miniature bound feet was a relic of the pre-Revolutionary, almost dead past. I also heard an echo of that past in a silk thread factory in Wuxi, China. A woman member of its Revolutionary Committee was introduced to me as a ?veteran worker?. The description astonished me because she looked so young. On inquiry I learned that she was indeed only 34 years old, but that she had toiled in the mill for twenty-six years, having begun this job as an 8-year old child.?

These three incidents reflect typical crimes and injustices against women in the Third World countries. Crimes against women include abuse, slavery, false imprisonment, murder and rape. In these countries, women are considered to be inferior to men and are not granted equal rights or protection under the laws. The governments, religions and cultures of these countries support the inequalities, thus allowing vicious crimes against women to continue without any recourse by the victims. The phrase ?women's rights? refers to the basic human rights that are withheld from women simply because they are women. Women?s rights promote political, social and economic equality for women in a society that traditionally confers more status and freedom to men. A basic right is for girls to grow up to be women: today twelve percent of the females born worldwide are missing, many of them victims of infanticide. Other women?s rights include: the right to live free of physical abuse, the right to live free of sexual exploitation, the right to health care and nutrition, the right to an acceptable standard of living, the right to chose her own partner, the right to vote, the right to control property, and the right to equal treatment before the law along with freedom of speech. Women in Third World countries do not have the rights that American women enjoy. In most of these countries, women do not even have rights equivalent to those of American women in the nineteenth century. For example, the women have arranged marriages, have very limited access to education and are abused by their arranged husbands. In these countries, women work twice as many hours as men for one-tenth of the income. The inequities vary from country to country, but one thing is in common; the inequalities are all being committed against women. This paper will explore the condition of women in three Third World Countries: Afghanistan, China and Iran.

Afghanistan


"They shot my father right in front of me. He was a shopkeeper. It was nine o'clock at night. They came to our house and told him they had orders to kill him because he allowed me to go to school. The Mujahideen had already stopped me from going to school, but that was not enough. They then came and killed my father. I cannot describe what they did to me after killing my father." (15-year-old girl, p. 10) This is the story of a 15 year old girl who was repeatedly raped in her house by armed guards after they had killed her father for allowing her to go to school. Afghanistan's